|  July 27 2012  |   Blog   |   0 COMMENTS

We’ve come quite a long way since the JFK/Richard Nixon debates in 1960. Don’t worry; I’m not talking about politics. I’m talking about television.

Steve Rubel of Ad Age recently discussed how the wave of innovation in visual story telling was created by TV in the 50’s and 60’s. Peter Guber, CEO of Mandaly Entertainment and author of Tell to Win emphasizes story telling as the key to persuasion. And what is advertising, if not persuasion?

For decades, TV has been the medium of choice for advertisers, mainly thanks to its ability to deliver both audio and visual stimuli. But when is the last time you saw someone walking around with a portable television? Recently, a new advertising renaissance has started to occur, one which is moving away from video and towards photography. As Rubel cleverly proclaims, The Revolution Won’t be Televised; It Will be Instragrammed.

Citing the Pew Internet for the American Life Project, Rubel notes that 31% of Americans who own internet-capable phones use them as their primary web browsing devices. For example, many people (including myself) like to use their phones during their commute to work to get caught up on the news, check e-mail, and of course browse and upload pictures on Instagram, Facebook, etc. While browsing and uploading pictures may be an amusing pastime for the average person, it is also an opportunity for advertisers. When trying to persuade a target audience to purchase a product or service, there are several advantages that pictures have over videos:

  • There are no language barriers to worry about- images are global
  • The bandwidth required to distribute a picture is minimal in comparison to a video
  • Pictures can be looked at for as long or as little as the consumer wants, unlike a video that needs to be seen in its entirety to efficiently deliver its message

As Rubel explains, video connectivity, as well as screen and format constraints make the mobile viewing experience sub-optimal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been frustrated by a CNN video that refuses to load on my iPhone in the morning (first world problems). Often times, it is just as effective and twice as easy to look at a picture that captures the story. After all, they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

So what do you think? Are you more persuaded by an advertisement in a video, or one in a photo? Can a similar strategy be implemented by PR pros?


*Image courtesy of Facebook.com


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